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Rebecca Rotella, left, and Michelle Hamilton discuss their designs for Wounded Warrior barracks. A mailroom is a feature in the common area. Photos by Cliff Hollis.

ECU students design Wounded Warrior barracks

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Oct. 21, 2008)   —   Interior design students at East Carolina University have been tasked with designing “barracks of the future” that can accommodate the needs of wounded, injured and ill Marines in the U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Battalion.

The barracks – or Bachelor Enlisted Quarters – are to provide assisted living for Marines as they rehabilitate. Ideas generated by this class project may be used in a new facility at Camp Lejeune or in future Wounded Warrior projects.

“This is a way for students to use their skills and realize that social engagement is part of being a designer,” Hunt McKinnon, professor of interior design, said. “They realize that this project can make a difference in somebody’s life, and that has made a huge difference in how they approach it.”

Students have complemented their academic research with accounts of Marine life from wounded Marines and battalion representatives.

Their plans incorporate such elements as public areas for Marines who do not like to be alone, furniture specially crafted for wheelchair-users and storage space designed to hold military gear.

Working in groups, the students have presented their design plans to faculty and battalion representatives. The next presentation will be Nov. 5, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., in the Rivers Building lobby. Students will also display their work at the Operation Re-Entry Symposium at ECU on Oct. 27.

Col. (Ret) Peter Grimes, command advisor for the Wounded Warrior Battalion - East, has been impressed by the quality of the students’ work. “They have been absolutely phenomenal and so creative,” Grimes said. “I can’t tell you how wonderful it was that they got involved with this project.”

Steve Duncan, ECU director of military programs, said this project shows ECU’s continued support of the military. “ECU is putting itself on the map as being very involved in helping this part of our community,” he said.

Duncan credited the dedication of the design students. “It is obvious they have put a lot of ‘head time’ into this project, and they have put a lot of ‘heart time’ into it, too. They really care about what they’re doing,” he said.

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend the next class presentation on Nov. 5 or visit with design students at the Operation Re-Entry symposium.


Contact: Christine Neff | 252-328-1159